Dr Mary Somerville Parker Strangman (1872–1943)

Dr Mary Somerville Parker Strangman was a doctor, suffragist and elected councillor. Born in Waterford, Strangman and her sister Lucia enrolled at RCSI in 1891, receiving their licences in 1896. After training and lecturing in Britain, Mary Strangman became the second woman to earn the fellowship of RCSI in 1902. Establishing a practice in Waterford, Strangman also volunteered at various local women’s charities and published a number of research articles on alcoholism and morphine addiction. She was an active suffragist and served on the executive committee of the Irishwomen’s Suffrage Federation (1911 – 1917). As co-founder of the local branch of the Woman’s National Health Association, Strangman worked to combat tuberculosis, the country’s principal killer disease. Seeing the authorities’ poor investment in sanitation, Strangman stood for election on a public health platform and was elected Waterford’s first female councillor in 1912. Retiring from office in 1920, Strangman continued in general practice and as physician at Waterford County and City Infirmary.